DOC: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO YOURSELF?
ALICE: Well, you see, I am so itchy and I’m hoping that you can give me something to…
DOC: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
ALICE: Er. Scratched? Itches? You know?
DOC: YOU MUST STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY!
ALICE: That’s why I’m here. I need some cream or something to help me…
DOC: NO! YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF. YOU MUST STOP!
Now, I’m thinking that I’m not loving the super-capitalized words bellowing from his mouth. But I keep my cool; after all, I need his medical acumen to help the hives go away.
ALICE: Doctor! I did not just put nails to skin that was unmarred by little raised bumps of itch, you know. These bumps all over my legs ITCH. MADDENINGLY. RELENTLESSLY. CONSTANTLY.
DOC: Your leg looks like it has a second degree burn
Oh good, he stopped shouting. But somehow that was more alarming. He has been hinting that the hives are due to horrific stress. And madness. According to him, I have "chosen" a form of self-mutilation as an outlet. What utter rubbish! He also told me that I need to go to the gym to work off things. This is annoying. I wanted some happy pills or something so that this stress will disappear. I don't want gym. I feel like some bloody 19th century woman who suffers from the "vapors". What a stupid thing to be erupting into itchy, bumpy, burning, scratchy nonsense.
Anyway, he did prescribe some things, and he glared at me for a bit and told me that when he sees me again, things should be better.
DOC *shaking his head sadly at me as he leaves*: Next time explain to me why you feel that you have to “punish” yourself with this incessant scratching. I know, I know, the hives make you scratch. But people generally don’t scratch that hard or that much. You will explain to me why.
Well, Doc, take a bit of comfort in Mark Twain’s statement: When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
So I went for a third visit recently and he tells me I am “better.” My second visit there he had observed that I was “good.” While he kept on examining and talking I zoned out and had this flashback to my Catholic school days when Sister St. Cornelia, trying to get some people not to use “bestest” in a sentence, would have us all intone, under penalty of ruler smacks:
Good, better, best
Never let it rest
When the good gets better
And the better gets best.
I do not want to be better. I want to be finished. Basta with this whole nonsense.
However, I am to return in several weeks. I do hope he will declare me officially “bestest.”
In the meantime, I am to use a new topical medicine.
DOC: Wear this ONLY at night right before bed. Wear your most ratty, ragged clothes.
ALICE: What! Why?
DOC: Well, this cream, which I assure you is very effective, is basically…tar.
ALICE: Tar? What! Is it thick and black? Does it smell tar-y?
DOC: Yes and yes and yes. That’s why you should use it at night when you’ll be alone.
ALICE: Thanks, Doctor. This will DEFINITELY ensure that I’ll be alone at night, alright!
DOC *thinking aloud*: Hmm. Maybe you should put on gloves, too. You may be scratching yourself in your sleep.
ALICE *bitter*: So you are telling me that I should put on tar, wear rags AND gloves, and smell like Eau de Freshly Poured Asphalt? And this will “cure” me?
DOC: Well, it will cure you of the itch and unsightly hives.
ALICE: Unsightly? Well, what do you think I will look like as a ragged and gloved hunk of tar, huh?
DOC: You’ll be asleep. What do you care?
I’m leaving and paying. Yes, yes, I think to myself, I have to pay for this, too. I hear my name called. It’s the doctor.
DOC: Oh, one more thing. Stay away from feathers.
I hate my life.